History of the Pork Pie

Picnic Week

It’s Picnic Week! Time to roll out the mat, stuff your trusty picnic basket and head to a tranquil park or beach nearby (we’re totally spoilt with oodles of beautiful spots here in Devon). There’s no doubt about it - the real hero of any picnic is a pork pie. There is something special about a good one, with perfectly crisp pastry and tasty seasoned pork meat.

three pork pies on a picnic table with a glass of beer 

We’ve ambled back in time to find out about its origin this week. 

The Pork Pie is a thing of beauty! These wonderous snacks have been around for a long old time, meat pies being a staple of the British since the Middle Ages. King Richard ll’s royal cooks recorded a recipe in 1390 for pork (amongst other things) parcelled up in pastry. In medieval times, these pies were cooked in a clay pot and the short water crust pastry wasn’t the highlight of a pie, but merely a way of preserving the meat inside and was often discarded (can you imagine?!). Cooks often slipped in other things along with meat like currants or other fruit. 

The first pork pies that really resembled the modern-day snack we all know and love were spotted in the now famous town of Melton Mowbray. If you’ve had the pleasure of munching a slice of one of those pies, then you’ll know that they are the bees knees. The Leicestershire town first started making them in 1831.


1. Supposedly you should be able to buff a pork pie and get a shine - as the lard warms it glistens.
2. Pork Pies come in two distinct styles - Cured (pink pork) Uncured (grey pork), at Chunk we use uncured pork.
3. Pork Pies are one of the oldest traditional recipes. With a classic hot water pastry making it a crisp case. Originally a hunting delicacy in Elizabethan times - easy to transport & eat.
4. "Porky Pies" is Cockney rhyming slang for Lies.
5. Pork Pie hats became big in the 30's for both women gents. Continuing into 60's -Mods, 70's Popeye Doyle then Walter White (Breaking Bad)


Squealer Pork Pies

Our classic pork pie is made with British pork and seasoned with subtle herbs and spices, wrapped in a traditional crispy hot water lard pastry. We free bake (no foil or tin) to get that classic pot belly look, and each pie is hand crimped. Just as they do in Melton Mowbray - but ours are handmade in Devon! Our Squealer Pork Pies are a little controversial with a lack of jelly, which we’ve had mixed feedback about, some customers love it and others miss the squidgy stuff separating the pastry and meat. But none the less this pork pie is winner of many top awards over the years, and a pie we are particularly proud of.


Chunk’s Top tips for enjoying a Pork Pie: Don’t bake – eat it cold! The Squealer Pork pie is best removed from the fridge about 20 minutes before eating. Try this fella with a helping of a sweet chutney or pickle (or brown sauce if you’re up North!) for a taste sensation.


go on - take a Chunk!